Tuesday February 8 2011
Prandelli reunites Cassano-Pazzini

Cesare Prandelli announced the Italy line-up against Germany, including Thiago Motta, Giampaolo Pazzini and Antonio Cassano.

The Azzurri travel to Dortmund for Wednesday evening's international friendly and already know their initial XI.

“Gigi Buffon plays in goal, with Mattia Cassani, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Ranocchia and Giorgio Chiellini in defence,” explained the Coach during his Press conference.

“Riccardo Montolivo, Thiago Motta and Daniele De Rossi in midfield, then Stefano Mauri, Cassano and Pazzini in attack.”

There are numerous intriguing aspects to this line-up, starting from the international debut of Brazil-born Inter midfielder Thiago Motta.

Having switched to left-back for Juventus recently, Chiellini does so again for the Azzurri, while former Sampdoria teammates Cassano and Pazzini are reunited.

Both left Marassi in January to join Milan and Inter respectively, though they haven't played together since Cassano's contract dispute in October.

“There is no doubting this will be an important match against Germany for many reasons,” continued Prandelli.

“It's true there are some who'll start their seventh game in 20 days, which is why I am focusing on how long they'll be on the field.

“However, I also want to view certain aspects of the squad carefully. We do have an official match in six weeks. We're not here to listen to the critics, but to continue along our path and that is all.”

The tactician tried to pair up players who are already familiar with each other, such as Cassano and Pazzini in attack, ex-Bari teammates Ranocchia and Bonucci in defence.

“These are players who already have a long period of working together under their belts, so considering how little time we have to train for Italy, it makes sense to use that experience.

“I do not expect us to crumble. I think it will be a difficult game, the kind that makes you grow up. I want a courageous and commanding Italy side capable of giving our fans something to enjoy in Dortmund.”

The introduction of Stefano Mauri as an effective trequartista is a change of tactics for Prandelli, who had favoured the 4-3-3.

“In order to have Giuseppe Rossi in a trident with Pazzini and Cassano, we need the right fitness levels to do it. Over time this side will manage to handle three strikers or an attacking figure plus two centre-forwards, but only after a while of working on it.”

Italy: Buffon; Cassani, Bonucci, Ranocchia, Chiellini; Montolivo, Thiago Motta, De Rossi; Mauri; Cassano, Pazzini

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